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Course Outline

Boat creating a wake

Reckless operation of a vessel is illegal in Virginia. Here are some examples of illegal and reckless operation:

  • Operating at speeds that are not reasonable and prudent based on the conditions. If no limits are posted, operate your vessel so that it does not endanger others. Vessel speed should always be maintained so that the vessel can be stopped safely.
  • Operating any vessel at greater than no wake or idle speed when within 50 feet of:
    • Docks, piers, or boathouses
    • Boat ramps
    • Persons in the water (Note that this does not apply to your towed skier or those “accompanying” vessels with inboard motors.)
  • Causing damage to a person or property with your vessel’s wake. You must reduce speed so as not to cause damage or danger when approaching or passing:
    • Vessels underway or vessels at anchor
    • Docks, piers, or boathouses
    • Persons in the water
    • Persons using water skis, surfboards, or similar devices
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